If you have a 58 I GSA Schedule Contract, this could be pretty significant news. It was recently announced that beginning in March 2013, federal buyers will only be purchasing televisions and monitors that are EPEAT registered. EPEAT is the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, and GSA describes it as “a multi-attribute, multi-tier environmental and energy efficiency rating system and registry for electronic equipment. The criteria address more than energy efficiency and, in essence, define what it means for products to be environmentally preferable.”
ADC Telecommunications Inc. will pay the United States $1 million to resolve allegations that the company submitted false claims to federal agencies when it sold telecommunications goods manufactured in countries prohibited by the Trade Agreements Act (TAA).
Do you know what the real benefits of being on the GSA Schedule are? Learn the top 10 reasons (and advantages) why you should consider it.
For any contractor interested in selling its’ products on a GSA Schedule, it is pertinent that you become familiar with, as well as compliant with the Trade Agreement Act (TAA). The TAA outlines where products the government purchases can be manufactured. As GSA Schedule solicitations contain TAA provisions, when applying for a GSA Schedule, your product’s Country of Origin (COO) must be included in the proposal, compliant with the TAA, and accurate. Determining a product’s COO can be complicated. While products that are wholly made in one country are simple to designate a COO for, most products contain numerous parts made in various countries. In these cases, the product’s COO is classified by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.225-5 as “the country in which the product has been substantially transformed into a new and different article of commerce with a name, character, or use distinct from that of the articles from which it was transformed”. Once a product’s COO has been determined, verify it is TAA compliant.
On November 16th, GSA announced a new program called the GreenGov Supply Chain Partnership and Small Business Pilot. This program was designed to create a greener, more efficient supply chain through a voluntary collaboration between the federal government and its suppliers. The announcement was made at a supply chain summit in Chicago hosted by Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Martha Johnson, GSA Administrator.
We’ve received a lot of questions about self certifying as a small business and I wanted to take some time to clear up what is a Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB). During October 2008, the Small Business Administration (SBA) suspended receipts of applications for the SDB program, which was a big surprise for many government contractors. The SBA stated the “SDB certification process is time consuming and costly for small businesses and offers little-to-no benefit.” One of the reasons for the SBA to say it had “little-to-no benefit” was all small businesses that participate in SBA’s 8(a) (business development) program are also small disadvantaged businesses. Furthermore, government agencies seem to have no problem meeting the 5% procurement goal for SDB set-aside requirements. Since there was a bit of overlap with these two SBA certifications, the SBA recommended that all small businesses self-certify themselves as a SDB. But what does it mean to be “disadvantaged”? First, you want to be careful since small business set aside contracts and "self certifying" accuracy is coming under increased pressure from the SBA and OIG. You need to know the “letter of the law” before making this important corporate certification. 13 CFR 124 and the SBA define “disadvantaged” as either socially or economically. Here are a few relevant sections from each:
GSA, the federal agency in charge of establishing per diem rates for federal travel, has released the reimbursement rates for fiscal year 2011, effective October 1st. Per Diem is essentially an allowance for daily expenses that are reset each fiscal year beginning on October 1. The federal per diem rate can be raised or lowered by a Per Diem Committee that surveys local meals and lodging rates. This committee uses local industry standards to ensure that taxpayer dollars aren't being misspent.